The Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) has published the new expedited procedure process, which will be implemented on 1 June 2022.
Prior to 2022, State policy on the inclusion of the expedited procedure statement in notices issued under section 29 of the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) applied a ‘blanket approach’ to the application of the expedited statement to particular kinds of tenements. These were prospecting licences, exploration licences, and retention leases (exploratory titles).
The new process allows DMIRS greater discretion in the application of the expedited statement to such tenements.
In particular, the new expedited procedure process involves:
- The introduction of an early risk assessment and triage process to identify tenement applications that are at high risk of a determination by the National Native Title Tribunal (NNTT) that the expedited procedure does not apply, should an objection to the assertion of the expedited procedure statement be lodged with the Tribunal.
- The implementation of a case management approach to encourage applicants and native title parties (NTPs) to achieve early agreement making.
- Education and engagement with NTPs about the reforms (on request);
- Clear engagement protocols for applicants and NTPs to promote early engagement and agreement making between industry and NTPs.
- Ongoing discussions with the NNTT regarding the operation of the expedited procedure process.
- Ongoing discussions with the Chief Magistrate regarding matters to be resolved in the Warden’s Court.
The purpose of the new process is to encourage early agreement making between parties and reduce delays to the grant of exploratory titles.